The USC Shoah Foundation opened its new space Tuesday, Nov. 6 on the fourth floor of Leavey Library.
This area doubles the previously available space as the institute scales its work to reach more people. It also offers a lobby with interactive displays about its work with survivors, including their testimonies and their impact around the world.
In one area of the center, visitors can engage with "Dimensions in Testimony," an augmented reality platform that houses interactive biographies. Holograms answer questions about their lives during various genocides.
Steven Spielberg founded the institute in 1994 to videotape and preserve interviews with survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust, according to the Shoah Foundation's website. It now documents various genocides around the world and houses nearly 55,000 audio-visual testimonies conducted in 65 countries and in 43 languages.
Stephen Smith, its executive director, explained that the foundation's work is not only focused on chronicling past genocides but also solving current problems.
"When one thinks about the Shoah Foundation, the first thing that comes to mind is an archive and archives tend to be about something… in the past," Smith said. "Well, this is an institute that's trying to solve real-world problems right now. The archival material informs the work we do in the contemporary world."
The foundation also encourages student involvement and interdisciplinary study.
"We're really encouraging students to think… What are the real-world problems we have around hatred, around genocide, and understand the path to genocide?" Smith said. "Think about it in an interdisciplinary way."
Students can get involved in a variety of ways, including student internships, events and seminars. Scholars can also conduct their research and give presentations on their findings.
"We host student government leaders from across the country," Smith said. "Those student leaders are affecting around half a million people on their campuses."
The Shoah Foundation's new space will be open for the public to explore beginning in Jan. 2019 between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Additional reporting by Nikki Walker.